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Expert Review

Hyundai i30 hatchback (2017 - ) review

The i30 is Hyundai’s challenger to some of the best family cars on the planet, and aims to take on the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


The i30 is an appealing car, especially if you value comfort. It’s also well-equipped, spacious, attractively priced and comes with the reassurance of a five-year/unlimited mileage, no-quibble warranty. However, some of the i30's rivals are higher quality and more fun to drive. An updated model arrives in Autumn 2020.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickComfortable ride
  • tickWell-equipped
  • tickEconomical engines

At a glance:

Running costs for a Hyundai i30

The i30 is priced broadly the same as the Ford Focus, and a fraction more expensive than Vauxhall’s Astra, but some way cheaper than the more premium Volkswagen Golf. Impressively cheap service, maintenance and repair costs should keep the costs down, and goes some way to compensate for disappointing resale values. Overall, over the first three years of ownership, you can expect the i30 to cost you much the same as the Ford or the Vauxhall. In terms of fuel consumption and CO2 none of the models are especially spectacular and certain variants of the 1.4-litre petrol tip over 151g/km, which more than doubles the first-year VED. You may duck this cost if you’re buying pre-registered from stock, however.
Expert rating: 3/5

Reliability of a Hyundai i30

Hyundai has an excellent reputation for reliability and robust construction and ranks highly in the respected JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study, even if it’s slipped a couple of places from the top spot it occupied in 2018. That’s nothing too serious to worry about and we can see why the i30 should stray from this excellent track record. The Warranty Direct Reliability Index looks further back and here Hyundai is still a strong performer and comfortably in the top third of all manufacturers. Five years of roadside assistance and vehicle health checks are included with the standard, fully transferable, unlimited-mileage warranty.
Expert rating: 4/5

Safety for a Hyundai i30

The i30 was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP crash test score, and its safety elements include six airbags, hill-start assist and brake lights which flash during an emergency stop. The i30 also comes with autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert and lane-keep assist as standard on all models, and has two Isofix child-seat mounting points in the back. A blind spot warning system and a rear cross traffic alert function are included on higher-spec models.
Expert rating: 4/5

How comfortable is the Hyundai i30

The i30 is built for comfort, so you do get a bit of body lean around corners. The heavier the engine fitted to your i30, the slower its reactions, and this explains why the hefty diesel-engined car feels rather sluggish, while the lightweight three-cylinder car is the sweetest driving of the regular range. On the motorway the cushy suspension really comes into its own though, unfortunately, it’s not as quiet as it is comfortable and there is some road and wind noise at 70mph. The i30 N Line has different suspension from the rest of the range, and some sporty bits taken from the i30 N hot hatch, which results in a much more composed and enjoyable drive. If you’ve even the slightest interest in fun behind the wheel, this is the i30 to go for. The seats are comfortable, with plenty of adjustment. Electrically adjustable lumbar support comes as standard on everything above the entry-level model. Visibility out of the front is good, making it easy to position the car, but there are quite thick pillars and a small screen at the back, so it’s bit harder to see when you’re looking over your shoulder. There’s a decent amount of room inside the i30 and it comfortably matches the vast majority of its rivals for interior space. The transmission tunnel running down the centre of the car is low and flat, so foot space for those travelling in the middle rear seat is far less compromised than in many rivals. As is the norm in this class, the rear seats split fold 60/40 and when you fold the seats down they're nearly flat. With the seats back in place, the boot space is bigger than a VW Golf, but not quite as roomy as a Skoda Octavia. While both the front door pockets, glovebox, and centre armrest bin are a decent size, there’s also a handy place in front of the gearshifter to store and charge your smartphone, if it supports inductive charging.
Expert rating: 3/5

Features of the Hyundai i30

All but the base model get an 8.0-inch touch-screen with voice-activated Bluetooth connectivity and full smartphone integration, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This makes up for the lack of built-in navigation on the lower-spec models as you can just use your apps instead. DAB, basic Bluetooth connectivity, a single USB charging port, phone and audio controls on the steering wheel, a variable height boot floor, automatic headlights and power adjustable mirrors are standard on all models. The new version of the i30 coming in autumn 2020 will have a bigger 10.25-inch screen with extra functionality, though we don’t yet know which models will use it. The interior of the i30 is more functional than flashy, but that’s no bad thing. The materials used are mostly high-quality, apart from a few scratchy plastics lower down and on the doors. It might not be quite up to the same standard as the Volkswagen Golf or Audi A3, but it’s also better than other rivals. If you want a slightly snazzier, sportier feel the N Line trim levels include a subtle bodykit on the outside and sports seats plus various N-branded trim elements within, along with sharper suspension.
Expert rating: 4/5

Power for a Hyundai i30

The engine range for the i30 is simple, with two petrols and a single diesel. The smaller petrol engine – a 1.0-litre, turbocharged, three-cylinder shared with the i20 – is only available with the six-speed manual gearbox but is the sweet spot of the range. It’s willing and eager in most driving conditions, though it can feel a wee bit short of puff on longer inclines. If that’s going to be a problem the 1.4-litre petrol has a lot more go, though it can get a bit noisy at high revs. This is less of a problem if you have it with the seven-speed automatic, which shifts up early to maintain refinement. This sometimes leaves you stranded in too high a gear, though, which can be a problem if you need to nip into a gap suddenly. The diesel is available with manual or automatic gearboxes and has good economy and low CO2 emissions. It’s a steady, refined performer and best suited to those racking up bigger mileages.
Expert rating: 3/5

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